Some people, I have concluded, just have way too much time on their hands. Steve Jobs is probably not one of them, but I suspect that 'Grammar Girl' most certainly is.
I also expect that this posting will fall victim to the grammatically correct squad, so have dropped a number of gaffs into my flowing prose to keep them busy. Which is a great get out clause in case anyone does discover that my written English is poorer than a church mouse. Not that I actually pay much attention to folk whose time is spent telling me my writing sucks, when at least I do have a life.
Anyway, dragging myself back to the point: it seems that when Steve Jobs gave his keynote address at the Apple Let's Rock event the other week, he used the word 'funnest' when talking about the new iPods. The problem being, screamed a bunch of grammar nerds online, funnest is not a word at all.
Then the Grammar Girl weighed in with her discourse on the subject. A long and rambling posting that reminded me of being back at school, in detention, and having to produce a written case for something that no sane person could give a toss about.
And so it was that I found myself reading about how fun started life as a noun, and then became an adjective. I am not sure I could care less whether "modern sources grudgingly accepted" this or not. It was a fun party is in common usage and that is that. Some paragraphs of detailed explanations of adjectives later, Grammar Girl arrives at the wonderful world of the Inflected Adjective and asks if crazy can be crazier then can fun can be funner or funnest? The conclusion, that there is a fun continuum with fun at one end and funnest at the other.
The trouble with all this debate being, of course, that it misses the real point: the new iPods are not the funnest ever, nor is the new iTunes 8, nor even the new iPhone 2.1 firmware. They are just, when all is said and done, really rather dull upgrades. Apple is losing the design wow factor, the ability to make us sit back with mouth agape and truly wonder at the gadgets on display before us. Apple is, I contest, running out of design steam.
That's the honestest truth of the matter.